TUSCAN WINE GUIDE
The whole Italian wine production and classification system seems to only have one objective – to confuse the buyer and make selecting a wine to drink a glorious journey into the unknown. There are many familiar names that can be seen on the wine lists of the finest restaurants of the world, but there are hundreds of vineyards, growers and bottlers all of whom will tell you their wine is the true gem of Tuscany.
The Pyramidal classification system – with Vino da Tavola at the bottom, going up to DOC and then DOCG – are as much a reflection of the production methods as of quality. Strict government rules control the labelling of wines, but are based on many criteria other than taste – grape variety and blend, the ages of vines, use of oak ageing and so on. Wine labelled as Vino da Tavola (table wine) may be assumed to be plonk, but there are many that are equally as expensive and significantly better then their more illustrious cousins with DOC and DOCG mark.
The heart of the Tuscan wine industry is Chianti – an area that has produced wine for centuries, and the landscape is full of ancient vines stretching for mile after mile. CHIANTI CLASSICO (descriptive of an area rather then a quality mark) carries the DOCG mark, and can be relied on to produce consistent wine of remarkable quality.
Other reliable names to watch out for are BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO and VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO, both areas with long traditions of producing powerful, full red wines that are famous the world over. VERNACCIA DI SAN GIMIGNANO produces some of the best white wine in Tuscany, and is perhaps the best complement to Italian food.
Of marginally less quality, but significantly less price, are areas such as MONTALBANO, ROSSO DELLE COLLINE LUCCHESI, CARMIGNANO, TIGNANELLO and SASSICAIA, all Tuscan wine producers with long histories and who export their wines all over the world.
When choosing wines from Tuscany, it is true to say that price will be a guide to quality. In restaurants and “Enotecas” (wine libraries or wine shops) the majority of wines offered tend to be Italian, if not exclusively Tuscan. The amazing ENOTECA NAZIONALE in Siena claims to stock every wine produced in Tuscany, and virtually every wine produced in Italy.
The price of wine in Italy is incredibly cheap compared to the UK and many other countries, especially when eating out. House wine in restaurants is often under 10 Euros and splashing out to the tune of 15 – 20 Euros will bring wines of excellent quality that may not be affordable in the UK. If in doubt, trust the staff or padrone to recommend a wine, as they take as much pride in their wine choice as their food, and many restaurants stock wines from local vineyards run by the same family.
What is certainly true is that whichever Tuscan wine you buy, at whatever price; you are unlikely to be disappointed either by the quality or the value. The range on offer can be daunting, but accept it as a challenge and try as many as possible....
Lucca wine guide
- GETTING THERE
- CAR HIRE
- MAP OF TUSCANY
- DRIVING DOWN?
- RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS
- CHECK OUT THE WEATHER
- EVENTS AND FESTIVITIES IN TUSCANY
- TRAIN TIMES
- COOKERY SCHOOL IN LUXURIOUS SURROUNDINGS
- SKIING IN TUSCANY
- LONG TERM RENTALS
- NOTICE BOARD
- GETTING MARRIED IN TUSCANY
- GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT ITALY
- BAGNI DI LUCCA THINGS TO DO
- ADVERTISING ON WWW.CASATUSCANY.COM
- Village Amenities
- TUSCAN WINE GUIDE
- HEALTH INFORMATION